Why was Kevin Kalkhoven really racing powerboats? UPDATE #2 As we said previously, Champ Car boss Kevin Kalkhoven's Gulfstream business jet usually doesn't fly unless there is a business purpose in mind and we speculated that Kalkhoven did not just fly to Italy to drive Powerboats because he likes boats. Malta wants a Champ Car race and Malta already hosts the P1 Powerboat series, which is hoping to collaborate with Champ Cars for combined events. Besides the ones we listed below, add Malta to the list of possibilities of combined street races and offshore P1 Powerboat races. This rumor is upgraded to 'strong.' Mark C.
04/29/06 More food for thought - Chris Pook is the Executive Director of the Sea Festival Assn. He has been very active with the Marine Advisory Commission of Long Beach to bring high profile attention to the boating public of Long Beach. As we know the APBA has been struggling for a fan base, sponsors, etc. An alliance between them and Champ Car as part of a Sea Festival is very likely. Both series appeal to similar demographics and a complimentary entertainment festival will certainly differentiate Champ Car from NASCAR. Kalkhoven has an interesting way of exploring the possibilities.
04/29/06 Was Kevin Kalkhoven in Italy this week with Katherine Legge driving powerboats because he likes to go to Italy to enjoy their pasta? We think not. With fuel prices what they are today, Kalkhoven does not fire up the engines on his Gulfstream and fly half way around the world from California to Italy just for a joyride. We have learned over the past two years that even when he flies for pleasure, there is always a business tie-in with the trip.
Is there a potential tie-in with a P1 Powerboat event and Champ Car races? You bet there can be. Champ Car (and the IRL when they merge) have events like Long Beach, St. Petersburg, Montreal, Toronto, NY City (rumored), Cleveland, Australia, and Otaru (rumored) that sit adjacent to large bodies of water.
The Powerboat tie-in seems to be at an early stage in the negotiation process, but Kalkhoven was certainly keen on the idea. (Related story)
"It's completely insane, which makes it brilliant," Kalkhoven enthused, "How those guys can race those things for an hour-and-a-half I don't know. I'd really love to do a race to feel what it's like. The physical effort and mental concentration needed is just incredible.
"This really makes me think about the possibilities of combining P1 with Champ Cars. There are a number of places where we race that could do it - Long Beach springs to mind. To have racing in the harbor and on the streets there would be truly spectacular.
"I'd be very interested in talking about it, as they have the same philosophy as us, taking racing to the people and making it entertainment. They've made a convert of me in one day!"